Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hey Mom! What's for dinner?

Growing up, these words were, for me, a source of comfort and security. Knowing that when my Mom gave the call for dinner, Dad, Mom, and all my brothers and sisters would be there and there would be food on the table. It wasn't always the most scrumptious meal, and there were some that I did not enjoy(sauerkraut anyone? blegh); that never did, however, take away from the pleasure of dinnertime. So, what is it about dinnertime that's so important that it merits it's own section in our study? First, I believe it is important because of what it provides. Dinnertime provides for more than just our physical hunger, and as fathers we are to provide more than just food and clothing for our families. When, in the beginning, God finished His creation and beheld that it was very good(Gen 1:31), it was more than just the physical that He had provided for; the emotional and spiritual were taken care of also - He had provided Adam a helpmeet, and He Himself would be there, too. Fathers, providing food to eat and a roof to eat under does not fulfill our responsibility; we need to be there also. One of the greatest parts of dinner as a child was knowing that Daddy would be there; if for some reason he couldn't make it, well, it just wasn't the same. Seldom was anything allowed to interrupt our dinnertime. Even the phone was to be ignored while we ate. That is something that I strive to continue today with my family. We were fellowshipping with our father; everything else could wait. It gives a sense that we are important and demonstrates the love our Heavenly Father has for us as He desires to fellowship with us. Remember, it's not about us, but about us showing an accurate picture of Him. The second aspect of the importance of dinner is that it protects. Not just anybody could come and sit down at our table. They had to be invited, they couldn't just show up. There are some who leave an open invitation to drop by anytime, you're welcome to stay for dinner. Not so at my house. If Momma didn't know you were coming, you probably weren't gonna stay. They had to meet the standard. No shirt, no shoes, no service kinda thing. Watch your language cause some things you just don't talk about here. You don't like the rules - there's the door. That was an important principle I learned growing up - you don't change your rules and beliefs just to accommodate someone else. The third and final aspect of the imprtance of dinner is that it promotes. It promotes fellowship, unity, hospitality, kindness, love, honesty; all qualities that must be present if the dinner is going to be as successful as it should be. Ever been to a dinner where there was tension or awkwardness or an uncomfortable silence? If any of the above qualities are lacking, that is what results.
Someday, we will get to finally sit down with our Heavenly Father for a meal that's been thousands of years in the making. And just like the dinnertime I've just described, everything will be provided for; we will be protected from sin and death; and the Lord Jesus Christ will be promoted. What a day that will be! Let's have a little bit of heaven here on earth - Let's make a big deal about dinner!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Could You Please Pass the Butter?

Once upon a time, in about the same place where you are, there lived a father, mother, and five little children. Their day was really quite simple: work, chores, schooling, a little play time, and meals. There were no emails to check, no phone ringing, no fantasy sports, not even a Sheriff Andy Taylor. Communication was centered around the family; and one of the great means of this communication was the dinner table. Here Father, Mother, and the children would sit and talk about the day's adventures, tomorrow's dreams, and life's lessons. The family was bettered as a result of this daily time of sharing and loving, but then comes the present.
Dad is eating on a tray in the living room watching the evening news. Mom is just eating out of the pots with a fork. Johnny will eat when he gets home from soccer, while Bethany is going to 'grab a bite' with her friend Amanda at Wendys. Everybody shoves down some grub, and as a result will be starving again at 8:00 and will eat the Taco Bell "Fourth Meal." (adding to our bulging waist lines)
Nobody shares a story, nobody knows what is happening in one another's life, nobody knows how to act properly at a table, and no one is there to pass the butter. The family is weakened.
Our eleventh question on our teen questionnaire reads:
We have dinner as a family around a table each week:
A: every day...31%
B: 4-6 days a week...15%
C: 2-3 days a week...13%
D: once a week...10%
E: Never...31%

About 1/3 of our IFB young people sit with their families and enjoy dinner every day, and about 1/3 of our IFB young people NEVER sit with their families and enjoy dinner together. Thus, a great number of our families are being weakened.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is rebuking the church at Corinth concerning their partaking of the Lord's supper. They had made the Lord's supper an event for the satisfying of the flesh, not the rememberance of our Lord's sacrifice. Apparently, they were making the observance more of a feast rather than an observance. Thus, Paul rebukes them by saying:
What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

We know in context how he is rebuking the church for making a mockery of the observance of the Lord's Supper, but I believe we also see a most applicable principle in this verse, "have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?"
It was to be expected that dinner was to be eaten at home. We read much in God's Word about where the eating was done inside the home (2 Sam. 9:7-13; 2 Sam. 19:28; 1 Kings 2:7; Matt. 15:27; Mark 7:28; Luke 22:30) they ate at the table.
Now, I do not believe it is a sin to go out and eat at a table, but I believe the principle must be seen that the family and friends gathered to eat together in the home at the table-not in the recliner, kitchen, bedroom, and porch. This is a special time for fellowship and sharing of love.
One day, we will enjoy perfect fellowship with Christ. The bride of Christ-those churches which have kept themselves unspotted from the world and true to the Word of God-will sit with the Bridegroom at His table and enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb. Why sit at a table? Why a supper? Why at the Father's House? Fellowship! Love! Communion! Unity!
Each night, our Christian homes should be a model of such: Father, mother, children sitting at a table, in the home, together enjoying fellowship, love, communication, unity!
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph. 5:32


Monday, April 13, 2009

Wheeeeerrrrrrrreee's Mommy?

With this past weekend being the time we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, I took the time to read through the different accounts of the four Gospels. After reading them and then considering this week's question, it struck me how true it is that the number of godly women in the Bible outnumber the godly men. Take, for example, the Crucifixion. There were at the foot of the cross several ladies, standing and grieving over the loss of their lord. How many men? One, John the beloved disciple. And that same trend is found throughout the Word of God; in fact, throughout history you find the same to be true, in every religion. But today - well, things are different today. Though I knew, growing up, that all people were sinners, in my mind woman just weren't as bad as men, and seemingly they couldn't be. But today - well, things are different today. Today it's the women who are smoking, drinking, cussing, and running around. Today it's the women who drive recklessly, get in fights, beat their children, and get in trouble with the law. So what happened? How did we get here? I refer again back to Proverbs 30:11-14, where it mentions four characteristics of a generation, or perhaps several generations, but it starts with the generations relationship with their parents - v.11 ..."that curseth their father and doth not bless their mother." Now, I don't know about you, but how do you not bless your mother? What kind of child cannot find it in themselves to rise up and ..."call her blessed"? Prov. 31:28. Then, it begins to dawn on me; it all becomes so very, very clear. The reason why this generation cannot bless their mother is they have had no mother to bless. Oh, they have had a woman who gave birth to them, but if the saying goes for the men, that having a child doesn't make you a father, then, ladies, neither does having a child make you a mother. So we have a generation, with little or no true parental influence and is it any wonder that we are where we are? Proverbs 29:15 says,

"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

and shame is what we have, and in order to avoid it we fill our lives to the brim with activity and things hoping to drown out the hurt and despair caused by that shame. Today we have a generation of boys and girls who were raised by a generation who did not give the example of what a man and lady ought to be. They rejected the authority of the Word of God and have reaped upon themselves destruction. They did as the Jews regarding Christ. The Jews said to Pilate, "... His blood be on us, and on our children." The previous generations said, by their actions if not their words, "We will live to please ourselves and we care not what we reap from it." They gave no thought for the effect it would have on their children. Proverbs 28:9 -

"He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination."

Our nation is hurting, as is evidenced by our youth. Many today are crying out to God, but until they cry out in repentance for rejecting his Word, their cry is in vain. Until we personally take responsibility, we will not prosper. It is by no means the burden of our ladies only, but they play a great role in both the success and failure of our families, churches, and nation. We need less women in politics and more mothers in prayer closets; less women playing sports and more women portraying spirituality. This generation is crying out for some godly parents to lead the way - will we hear their plea and bow our knee; or will we turn away and lose the day?